13 Insights
  1. Heck yeah, that was awesome. It makes complete sense with the un-finished edges. I'm obsessive about finishing everything inside, but sometimes it's such a pain in the butt, especially when you, er, wash a jacket and then realize the muslin lining shrunk but the outer fabric didn't, and, er, have to completel de-construct it and re-make it.

    Or throw it in the trash, that's also an option. :-)

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  2. Well, now you have the excuse not to because it's not period accurate. ha ha! BRILLIANT!

    ...but damn...that really sucks about your jacket...did you throw it away? Did you? Did you take pictures?

    I didn't write this in the blog, but a lot of gowns actually have sloppy loose stitching, with the idea that they would be taken apart eventually and reconstructed (and too tight stitches can damage silk). Mantua makers weren't always that neat with their work. :) They were good though, as was their thread, the stitches are still surviving today. Mine other the other hand, one step on my train and the skirt got ripped out the first time I wore the thing! :)

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  3. Heh, I love puffy sleeves on extant gowns - mostly bec. I can't make my own sleeve heads lie flat, so I'm always looking for an excuse to call mine "accurate" (plenty of examples, really!). I always kinda figured the inside would be a bit raw too.

    I also love seeing period eyelets w/big stitches! Makes mine look ok :-)

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  4. No, I didn't toss it...yet. it was that yellow and green casaquin with the bows down the front. Ugh, I cleaned it to then sell it and now I can't even wear the thing, let along sell it.

    Amen on the big stitches. I don't bother setting sleeves on the machine or with tiny stitches these days - just some not-so-precise backstitching by hand, that seems to do the trick!

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  5. Thanks for this post! Love seeing the insides of other people's stuff lol--I don't know why I had psyched myself out that a zone-front gown would be totally different from a "normal" gown, but this reassured me that I could probably do it :) And I'd love to sometime--it's gorgeous!

    I end up finishing a lot of my inside seams because I'm a reenactor--and I wear my clothes really hard. I recall reading somewhere that working-class people had more sturdily constructed clothing than upper-class, because it was expected to be worn harder and laundered more. Can't recall where I read this, though--does your research support that conjecture?

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  6. Trystan: My thing with puffy sleeves, is that I always feel like a linebacker when I wear them. That's why I avoid them. :) I love the quick eyelets too, there are some out there that have something like 4 stitches in the eyelets and they've held up. I have no idea how they did it, but it's amazing.

    AmDuch: Oh hell, that really sucks! I guess you could save the trim & bows and make the rest of the fabric into a pillow?

    Rowenna: I totally was the same way for a long time (oh my gosh it must be so complicated....nope), it's really easy to do, just takes some time piddlin' with the shapes to get them right and making sure you leave enough for seam allowance, etc. You can totally do it, just take time to experiment with the shape of the zone to make sure it's flattering to your figure. I think that's the biggest thing.

    As for what you read, it makes sense (and I'm inclined to agree to the general idea), though hard worn garments from the middle class aren't common in collections, so there's no way to know that for sure. However, the stitching would be smaller because the fabric could take it and if they were doing some laundering it would have to hold up better. As for finishing the seams? I'm not sure. I can say that at the Millinery shop at Colonial Williamsburg I am 98% positive that they don't finish their armseye seams on any of their pieces, and they hold up really well.

    And, I just thought of something, the pattern used for short jackets and bedgowns doesn't actually have an arms eye, and the one seam that goes down the side is felled so it's really strong. So the pieces that are 'work' clothes just avoid the issue all together. :)

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  8. Dear Abby,

    What a dress! Loved seeing all the innards. The back has incredible lines. Wow!

    You described the stitch used on the quarter backs as a sort of whip stitch (in a link to an earlier post), except that it didn't *wrap over* the silk the way a whip stitch does. Am having a hard time envisioning that. Any way you could show us?

    Many thanks,

    Natalie

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  9. Natalie: Sure! I'll piddle around with some fabric to show you all what it was like. I'll try to get it posted today or tomorrow. :)

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  10. Wow, this post kinda blew my mind - I need to come back and re-read it to absorb this all properly. So interesting to see all those guts and the 'hows' of pretty dresses. Thank you for sharing!

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  11. GWT- You're welcome! :) If you have any questions feel free to ask!

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  12. Hi Abby,
    This gown looked fabulous when I saw it in Williamsburg. Thanks for the photos and details.

    Regards,
    Natalie

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  13. Very pretty! I didn't find a photo of you wearing it, though.. Where can I see it being worn? I'd love to see how it looks! :)

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